IPA Flag of the United Nations

IPA stands for the International Phonetic Alphabet, which is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standardized representation of the sounds of spoken language. The IPA is used by lexicographers, foreign language students and teachers, linguists, speech / language pathologists, singers, actors, constructed language creators, and translators.

The large number of accented and unusual characters in IPA has made it a challenge to produce in braille. In 2008, Robert Englebretson revised the earlier braille notation system of Merrick and Potthoff (1934). The Englebretson system was accepted by BANA in 2011. That system is largely true to the original in consonants and vowels, but the diacritical marks were completely reworked, necessitated by the major revisions in print IPA diacritics since 1934. This DBT translator follows the 2008/2011 standard.

You can make use of the IPA translator from virtually all DBT templates by marking the IPA material in the IPA style. The IPA translator is one of several translators in DBT specifically designed to address the needs of advanced language learners and language specialists who happen to be blind.

There is only one template for IPA: IPA - Basic, and this template is only used when the entire inkprint document is written in phonetics.

For the details about the DBT translator used by IPA: click here.

Uncontracted Braille

IPA is produced in uncontracted braille. This means that words in the text are produced in braille on a one-for-one basis, generally with one braille character for each inkprint symbol. Showing upper case, emphasis, or numbers adds braille characters to the character count, and some inkprint punctuation requires more than one braille character, but there are no abbreviations or contractions.

If you have questions about how braille is produced, please contact a member of the relevant braille authority.